Bi-medial Plato, Derrida's pharmakon

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Only ten years since Derrida’s death, with critical detachment, is it possible to be in touch with him again, to start from the beginning of his philosophizing in company with Plato, and from this vantage point to re-read Dissemination? What really stands between Plato and Derrida? In the first page of Pharmacia Derrida writes: “We will take off here from the Phaedrus ... Only a blind or grossly insensitive reading, could indeed spread the rumour that Plato was simply condemning the writer’s activity”.1 Hence the question: Is the nexus writing/pharmakon profitable for thinking of something ambivalent and irreducible, present and absent, something bearer of indefinitely deferred presence in the play of infinite real or imaginary substitutions? The main enterprise of this essay orbits about the problematic of writing, understood as τέχνη, but also as a key locus of relation Plato/ Derrida. Here technology - and thinking of its function and value- I would like to argue, regards the technical and non-technical, the practical and theoretical, seeing that thinking of their function remains always a “parasitical contamination”, seeing that writing is another speech, and, according this statement, we may regard Plato as he who paves the way for Derrida. In what follows, through textual analysis I will focus on some interesting unrolling, connected and disconnected threads by discussing the readings of different scholars and philosophers such as the disputed classicist E. A. Havelock, the historians of ancient philosophy G. Reale and C. H. Kahn. In particular I will explore, first, the nexus speech/writing, and argue that historically Plato was a bi-medial philosopher and writer, an aspect taken for granted, but not sufficiently attended by scholarship. In the second part of the essay I hold that the Derridean reading of ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’ discovers a special deconstruction at work within Plato’s dialogues. In the light of the manifold τέχνη, and of the hybrid Khora, at the end the apparent ambiguity in Plato’s stance and Derrida’s φάρμακον invites us to identify Plato as the Father of deconstruction.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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